The weather was absolutely perfect Saturday (Sept. 29) to be outdoors painting eco-murals on the sides of a MetroBus at the Missouri Botanical Garden in South St. Louis. The MetroBus painting was one of the highlights of the annual Green Homes and Great Health Festival and this was the fifth year the Missouri Botanical Garden partnered with the Metro Arts in Transit Program for a bus painting.
Two-year-old Zoey from Ballwin, Missouri was very excited to help paint the MetroBus. An apron protected her colorful sundress from paint splatters as she dipped her brush again and again into a cup of black paint and then transferred the paint to the design on the bus.
“Children love to paint, especially when it is on a giant metal canvas. They are so excited when they are given a paintbrush and a cup of paint. Painting a MetroBus lets them to have fun creating art without getting into trouble for painting on surfaces they are not normally allowed to paint on,” said David Allen, Director of the Metro Arts in Transit Program.
Zoey was joined by other children and adults who helped paint the two murals created by local artist and farmer Eric Stevens onto the sides of the MetroBus.
“I like to advocate green building and sustainable design whenever possible both in visual art expression everyday living, ” Stevens said. He said this was the first time he had ever designed anything on such a large scope.
Stevens’ mural design is actually two art pieces—one for each side of the MetroBus which focus on both residential and commercial sustainability. One side depicts green living in a residential setting while the other depicts green living at a commercial scale.
“The residential side is comprised of my own vision of the potential for sustainability in a neighborhood. I chose to include community gardens, fruit trees, solar and wind energy, and alternate forms of transportation. I also added small suggestions of green living such as clothes lines and backyard chickens,” said Stevens. “The commercial side of the bus was inspired by one of the sponsors this year, the Sheet Metals Workers’ Local 36. Their new building displays many green features and is pursing LEED certification at the Platinum level. The commercial side highlights key elements of their green building.”
The bus painting Saturday was a family affair for Stevens. His wife, son and young daughter wanted to be involved in the special project and they also grabbed paint brushes to put their touches on the murals.
The Art Bus Fleet Program partners Metro with non-profit organizations in the community like the Missouri Botanical Garden to raise awareness for their organizations.
The MetroBus with the newly painted murals will now join the Art Bus Fleet and will travel various MetroBus routes throughout St. Louis City and St. Louis County for the next year. You just never know when you may see this big traveling work of art rolling down the highway or cruising through your neighborhood.